Be careful what you wish for…in case your wish comes true. Is “may you live in peaceful times” as much of a curse as “may you live in interesting times”? Ask Tom….
Tom sighed and tried to block out the combined noises of the children shrieking, the TV blasting out a soap opera and Linsi singing as she cooked.
The house had been a folly, he knew it. What solicitor – hell, partner now! -would buy a house that didn’t have a study? What lawyer would work at home on the dining table in the living room? What sensible legal eagle would buy a place where the only corporate entertaining area was around the BBQ in the back, because the cottage didn’t even have a separate dining room?
But the cottage had taken their hearts the first time they saw it, picket fence freshly painted, front garden an orderly riot of roses, cosmos and snapdragons, and golden sandstone building glowing softly in the light of spring. The tasteful additions at the back the previous owner had completed gave the cottage a living/family room that stretched its width and lit it with winter sunshine. Most of all there was an overall sense of peace, of strength, of age. The cottage had been there a hundred years. It would still be standing long after they’d gone. Continue reading
Could it be true that Prince Charles never married Diana, but secretly wed a suburban Australian housewife ten years his senior? Beryl thinks so. As far as she’s concerned, she’s the real Princess of Wales. (This story was written before Charles married Camilla. Just to avoid confusion.)
Beryl Parkinson had always adored Prince Charles; but she couldn’t tell you exactly which day her fantasy of being married to him had, to her, become reality.
Her husband – her REAL husband, Alf – suffered the nameplate Highgrove on the front of their Californian bungalow on Morrison Road, and the spare room being turned into a shrine worshipping HRH. He wasn’t aware than on the rare occasions that he and his wife had sex, she saw the Prince’s face looming over hers in concertinaed concentration, and that when Alf rolled off with a satisfied, “Owwuzzitferyoulove?” she heard Charles’ mellifluous tones say, “Darling, that was wonderful!”
Had Alf known that Beryl considered herself the wife of “that stuck up bugger with ears like wingnuts”, he would have realised that the pills that had kept her under control since Gladesville Hospital had shut down and she’d moved back home weren’t working as well as they should. Continue reading
Chloe Masson died a hundred years ago – and she’s lonely as hell with nobody to haunt a house with. Can she persuade Kate to join her in eternity? (Winner of the Margaret Oliver Award, 1999 Fellowship of Australian Writers Short Story Competition, Moocooboola Chapter)
My name is Chloe Masson. I died one hundred years ago in the Lane Cove River, and I live in Trebeurden, the wonderful stone house my husband Jules built for me in the French Village.
Yes, I still live. I exist for those who can see me, when there a fissure between the dimensions of time, or, sometimes, when my loneliness becomes unbearable and I struggle with all my might to be recognised, to be whole again. Continue reading
Yvonne’s plans for a new kitchen go awry with the discovery of an historic ice cellar under the house. However, she knows money, power and greed will ensure she gets her own way…or will it? (Winner of the Margaret Oliver Award and runner-up in general section, 1997 Fellowship of Australian Writers Short Story Competition, Moocooboola Chapter)
“What do you mean, it can’t be done?” Yvonne almost yelled, but the cowed look on the little man’s face tempered her howl of rage by a couple of degrees. “We know we can get council permission to pull the back of the house off. We’ve already won that battle. It’s not the original timber, it was totally replaced in 1928 so therefore it isn’t heritage and therefore the old timber extension can come down and the new brick extension can go UP!’ Yvonne felt herself almost foaming at the mouth. Taking the advice that things couldn’t be done didn’t come naturally to her. Most things, in her book, COULD be done. You just had to find the right price. Continue reading